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Preschool worker charged in connection with Hesston shooting

USD 410 parent advocate allegedly gave guns to Hesston gunman

Sarah J. Hopkins, 28, Newton, a preschool parent advocate for USD 410 Lehigh-Hillsboro-Durham, was charged in federal court Friday with knowingly supplying an assault rifle and handgun to convicted felon Cedric Ford, the gunman who killed three people and injured 14 in a shooting rampage Thursday in Hesston.

U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom’s office announced Friday afternoon one charge of knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon had been filed against Hopkins.

At 5:48 p.m., USD 410 Superintendent Steve Noble sent an e-mail to district staff, board members, and media stating:

“We have learned one of our employees has been charged with knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon. The administration and board of education are aware of this issue and are responding appropriately. Because this is a personnel matter, we are not able to comment further.”

Sarah Hopkins is identified as a preschool parent advocate in the Hillsboro Elementary School 2015-16 handbook, and a social media profile for a Sarah Hopkins of Newton states her occupation as “preschool family advocate” for USD 410.

According to a published report in the Topeka Capitol-Journal, an affidavit provided by Grissom’s office alleged that Hopkins had moved out of a Newton residence she shared with Ford in July 2015, but returned to the residence with Newton police in August to retrieve two firearms she had purchased from a Newton pawn shop in 2014.

Shortly thereafter, Hopkins is alleged to have returned the guns to Ford, with the affidavit stating she did so, “because Ford had threatened her.”

If convicted of providing the guns to Ford, Hopkins could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Last modified Feb. 27, 2016

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